In the Context of Empire
By Jonathan Lancaster and Matthew McKenna
A podcast where two social studies teachers discuss history, American empire, US politics and their own lives. Traditional narratives regarding American history are challenged in a tone that ranges from playful to hostile.
Episode 55: An Endorsement of Whataboutism, Tankies and Moral Equivalence with Justin Podur
Matt was joined by Justin Podur to discuss the terms "whataboutism," "tankies" and "moral equivalence" as useful tools for anti imperialists, despite imperialist attempts to dismiss them. Justin is the founder of the Anti Empire Project and Anti Empire project Podcast. He is the author of America’s Wars on Democracy in Rwanda and the DR Congo and The Path of the Unarmed. He is the co-author of Extraordinary Threat: The U.S. Empire, the Media, and Twenty Years of Coup Attempts in Venezuela Justin is also an Associate Professor at York University's Faculty of Environmental and Urban Change. Discussed in this Episode: - The origins of "whataboutism," how it has been used, and why imperialists are so quick to dismiss it as a tactics - The racist origins of imperialists dismissing calls for racial equality as "whataboutism" throughout the the Cold War - A discussion about how literally EVERY BEHAVIOR the United States accuses other nations of are behaviors that US either engages in itself, or supports governments that do so. - The value of "whatboutism" as a tool in argument - The charge of being a "tankie" or engaging in moral equivalence - Is calling out hypocrisy useful? There are endless examples, but do the imperialists actually care if they are behaving in obviously hypocritical ways? Our Work: Read our "In the Context of Empire" blog with corresponding and expanded posts to this content! Find some of Matt's writing at CovertAction Magazine Social Media: Twitter- @JonTheContrary and @Mattylongruns Music produced by Zac McKenna- @mcktasty
December 31, 2021
Episode 54: The Not So Good Neighbor Policy with Alex Avina
Matt was joined by Alex Avina to discuss the treacherous legacy of US imperialism in Latin America. Alex currently an associate professor of history in the School of Historical, Philosophical and Religious Studies at Arizona State University. He is the author of Specters of Revolution: Peasant Guerillas and the Cold War in the Mexican Countryside. You can find his writing in many places including the Foreign Policy focused blog, Foreign Exchanges along with his own website. You can find his writing in many places including the Foreign Policy focused blog, Foreign Exchanges. Discussed in this Episode: - The origins of Alex's interest in the history of imperialism in Latin America - Stages of US imperialism and the various forms it has taken - Latin America as a training ground for US empire - The lesser known but crucially important examples of US imperialism in the hemisphere - The incredible capacity for hyporcrisy displayed by US liberals who while professing anti racism at home, support incredibly racist US policies in Latin America - Possibilities for a brighter future in the hemisphere Our Work: Read our "In the Context of Empire" blog with corresponding and expanded posts to this content! Find some of Matt's writing at CovertAction Magazine Social Media: Twitter- @JonTheContrary and @Mattylongruns Music produced by Zac McKenna- @mcktasty
November 20, 2021
Episode 53: Wait... Who is the Extraordinary Threat? Venezuela as a Case Study in US Imperialism & Propaganda with Justin Podur and Joe Emersberger
Justin Podur and Joe Emersberger join Matt to discuss their excellent new book, Extraordinary Threat: The US Empire, the Media, and Twenty Years of Coup Attempts in Venezuela. Justin is the founder of the Anti Empire Project and Anti Empire project Podcast. He is also the author of America’s Wars on Democracy in Rwanda and the DR Congo and The Path of the Unarmed, He is also an associate professor at York University's Faculty of Environmental and Urban Change. Joe is a prolific anti imperialist author, primarily focused on Latin America. His writing can be found at FAIR, Counterpunch, Venezuelanalysis.com,, TeleSUR English and The Canary. Discussed in this Episode: - Justin and Joe's interest in Venezuela - The reality of the "once prosperous Venezuela that existed prior to Chavez. (also covered in Justin and Joe's article in FAIR) - The accomplishments of Chavismo - The myth of fraudulent Venezuela elections - Actually, "whataboutism" is an extremely useful critique of US empire as it engages in projection in 100% of its accusations against other nations - The manner by which the US attempts to destabilize or overthrow governments, and then cynically feigns outrage when targeted nations take any measures to defend their nations from subversion. - The racist, classist and violent character of the Venezuelan opposition - The imperialists' 'cynical weaponization of human rights even when they appear genuinely concerned, IE the New York Times is upset about torture... because it limits the US credibility to bully other nations. - The shameful role that US progressives (AOC, Bernie Sanders) have played in demonizing Venezuela - Hopes for the future of Chavismo and the Latin American left more broadly, Our Work: Read our "In the Context of Empire" blog with corresponding and expanded posts to this content! Find some of Matt's writing at CovertAction Magazine Social Media: Twitter- @JonTheContrary and @Mattylongruns Music produced by Zac McKenna
November 20, 2021
Episode 52: For US Media, Apparently 40 Years of War on Afghans is Insufficient with Joey Tavarez
As events in Afghanistan receive sudden US media attention, Matt was joined by a former student, Joey, to discuss the current situation and history of US imperialism in Central Asia. Discussed in this Episode: - The ridiculous premise that was used and continues to be used to justify this two decade war - The numerous chances to avoid war that the United States actively chose to not pursue - The hollowness the excuses put forward for a US presence in Afghanistan - Steps forward, what can we do as US citizens? Mentioned in this Episode: Guardian- Taliban warned the US about 9/11 Al Jazeera - The Taliban offered to try Bin Laden PRIOR to 9/11 -Guardian: Taliban offered to give up OBL after 9/11 several times General Wesley Clark admits to the Neoconservative plan to take out "7 countries in 5 years." Our Work: Read our "In the Context of Empire" blog with corresponding and expanded posts to this content! Find some of Matt's writing at CovertAction Magazine Social Media: Twitter- @JonTheContrary and @Mattylongruns This Episode's Music was Produced by Zac McKenna
August 18, 2021
Episode 51: US Schools are Engaged in Genocide Denial
Jon returns to the show to speak with Matt about a variety of topics relating to how to responsibly discuss US empire. They discussed how the topic of genocide is generally taught in US schools in a manner that rarely extends past the Holocaust, and almost never identifies the US' historic culpability in the crime past the notion that it "just stood by." Also discussed was Matt's recent post on the In the Context of Empire blog regarding how to responsibly talk about official US enemies. Referenced in this Episode: Matt's recent articles in Covert Action Magazine, U.S. Schools Support Genocide Denial and What To Do About It, and On Memorial Day, We Should Remember Most U.S. Wars Were Started for Resource Theft, Imperial Hubris and Racist Animus Matt's article on the In The Context of Empire blog, An Anti-Imperialist Guide for Discussing Official US Enemies Our Work: Read our "In the Context of Empire" blog with corresponding and expanded posts to this content! Social Media: Twitter- @JonTheContrary and @Mattylongruns
June 05, 2021
Episode 50: Obama the Smooth War Criminal with Jeremy Kuzmarov
While still the darling of many liberals, in his time as president Barack Obama maintained a veil of progressive politics while prosecuting US wars and empire quite effectively. Matt was joined by Jeremy Kuzmarov to discuss the trail of blood and destruction left behind by the 44th president of the United States. Jeremy is a writer and managing editor at Covert Action Magazine. He is also the author of Obama’s Unending Wars and The Russians are Coming Again. His work can additionally be found at his website. Discussed in This Episode: - Jeremy's background and interest in anti-imperialist writing - Barack Obama's background and faux antiwar stances - The devastating imperial crimes of the Obama administration including the drone war, the continued devastation of Afghanistan, and the destruction of Libya - A critique of Intercept journalist Jeremy Scahill's recent breakdown of current US president Joe Biden's history with regards to imperialism - Several of Jeremy's recent articles about Biden's plan for Afghanistan, Obama's destruction of Libya, the heroic whistleblower Daniel Hale, and a breakdown of Joe Biden's record in foreign policy. Our Work: Read our "In the Context of Empire" blog with corresponding and expanded posts to this content! Social Media: Twitter- @JonTheContrary and @Mattylongruns Read Matt's article's at Covert Action Magazine
May 28, 2021
Episode 49: Viewing Palestine Through the Anti-Imperialist Lens with Justin Podur.
Justin Podur joined Matt to discuss the ongoing violence visited upon Palestinians by the US backed Israeli government. Justin is the founder of the Anti Empire Project and the host of the Anti Empire podcast. He is also the author of America’s Wars on Democracy in Rwanda and the DR Congo and The Path of the Unarmed, and Siege Breakers For his day job, Justin is an Associate Professor at York University's Faculty of Environmental and Urban Change. Check out his website at podur.org Discussed in this Episode: -Zionism as an extension of Western imperialism -How to deflate the most common pro Israel- anti Palestine propaganda tropes - The perpetual claims of victimhood by oppressors - Settler colonial states stick together - Shifting attitudes in the US towards Israel - Justin's resource for countering anti Palestinian propaganda Our Work: Read our "In the Context of Empire" blog with corresponding and expanded posts to this content! Social Media: Twitter- @JonTheContrary and @Mattylongruns
May 24, 2021
Episode 48: Understanding the US Manual for Regime Change with Vijay Prashad
Makasi and Matt were joined by Dr. Vijay Prashad to discuss a variety of topics including the United States' long war on the people of the Global South, the CIA's methods of regime change, and the current cold war with China. Dr. Prashad is the executive director of the Tricontinental Institute for Social Research and the chief correspondent at Globetrotter. He is also the author of many books including The Poorer Nations, The Darker Nations, and Washington Bullets Discussed in This Episode: - Vijay's anti-imperialism origin story - Rethinking the Cold War - The various methods of regime change employed by the United States - The ongoing cold war with China and the hypercritical weaponization of human rights Our Work: Read our "In the Context of Empire" blog with corresponding and expanded posts to this content! Social Media: Twitter- @JonTheContrary and @Mattylongruns
May 14, 2021
Episode 47: Ending US Aggression on the Korean Peninsula with Christine Ahn
Christine Ahn joined Matt to discuss the long history of US imperialism and violence on the Korean Peninsula. Christine is the founder and director of the peace organization, Women Cross DMZ. Discussed in this Episode: -Christine's background and interest in peace activism with a focus on the Korean Peninsula -The origins and mission of Women Cross DMZ - The genocidal behavior of the US in the conflict that Americans often call the "forgotten war" - The need to understand how trauma of US' industrial scale violence still affects the peninsula today - How should we talk about alleged human rights abuses by the Kim government? - Sarah Lazare's In These Times article featuring Christine, which discusses feminist imperialism, and why we need to be weary of it - Christine's article in The Nation, Anti Asian Violence in America is Rooted in US Imperialism Our Work: Read our "In the Context of Empire" blog with corresponding and expanded posts to this content! Social Media: Twitter- @JonTheContrary and @Mattylongruns
April 15, 2021
Episode 46: Countering the Imperialist's Narrative with Justin Podur
Justin Podur joined Matt to discuss imperialist propaganda, and how to provide a countervailing narrative. Dr. Podur is the Associate Professor at York University's Faculty of Environmental and Urban Change. He is also the founder of the Anti Empire Project and the host of the Anti Empire Project Podcast. Justin is the author of America’s Wars on Democracy in Rwanda and the DR Congo, The Path of the Unarmed. and Siegebreakers. Discussed in this Episode: - Justin's background, interest in anti-imperialism, and the development of the Anti Empire Project - Expanding on Justin's Twitter thread about how anti- imperialists within the US empire should speak about the alleged human rights abuses of nations that are official US enemies - Complicating the traditional narrative on the US role in the Rwandan genocide - Connecting Justin's work on environmentalism with his anti-imperialist efforts Our Work: Read our "In the Context of Empire" blog with corresponding and expanded posts to this content! Social Media: Twitter- @JonTheContrary and @Mattylongruns
April 12, 2021
Episode 45: Iran's Phantom Nuclear Weapons Program with John Ghazvinian
In the US, it is often taken as fact that Iran has a nuclear weapons program, despite little evidence indicating that this is true, and mountains of evidence to the contrary. This myth has had devastating consequences for the Iranian people due to US sanctions that are justified through the nuclear weapons allegation. Dr. John Ghazvinian rejoined the show to speak about this topic along with some other misunderstandings that have hindered the Iran-US relationship. Dr. Ghazvinian is the executive director of the Middle East Center at the University of Pennsylvania. He is also the author of Untapped, the Scramble for Africa’s Oil and most recently, America and Iran: A History from 1720 to the Present Discussed in this Episode: The Iran-Iraq War-the devastating effects on Iran and the US' involvement The intricacies of the Iranian political system Iranian Presidents Ahmadinejad and Khatami, misunderstandings and missed opportunities for peace Iran's phantom nuclear weapons- and the mountains of evidence that disprove this allegation Our Work: Read our "In the Context of Empire" blog with corresponding and expanded posts to this content! Social Media: Twitter- @JonTheContrary and @Mattylongruns
April 08, 2021
Episode 44: The Dissenting Warriors of the US Empire with Chris Lombardi
The United States has been at war for nearly every year of its existence. Nearly all of those wars have been offensive in nature. These wars have killed tens of millions of people, and traumatized exponentially more. While this acknowledging that the history of the US military is one of mass murder and devastation, one source of hope is the fact that throughout all of these wars, there has always been members from within the military who have resisted, and sought to undermine the efforts of the war state. Matt was joined by Chris Lombardi to speak about the long history of dissent from within the United States military. Chris is the author author of I ain’t Marchin Anymore,Dissenters, Deserters, and Objectors. She also sits on the board at Center on Conscience and War. Discussed in this Episode: -Chris' background in and interest in telling the stories of dissenters from within the military and her work with conscientious objectors - The connection between domestic oppression and resistance to dissent in the military - Stories of various forms of resistance across US history from the American Revolution to the War on Terror. Resources Mentioned in this Episode: GI Rights hotline wagingnonviolence.org Chris' website Our Work: Read our "In the Context of Empire" blog with corresponding and expanded posts to this content! Social Media: Twitter- @JonTheContrary and @Mattylongruns
April 06, 2021
Episode 43: Hope and Skepticism as the US War in Yemen Turns Six with Shireen Al-Adeimi
Jon and Matt were joined by Dr. Shireen Al-Adeimi to discuss the history and recent updates in ongoing US, Saudi, and UAE war on Yemen. Dr. Al Adeimi is an assistant professor of education at Michigan State University. She also devotes much of her time to activism directed toward ending the genocidal war in Yemen. Her writing can be found at In These Times, and she has made many other media appearances on a variety of platforms including Democracy Now. Discussed in this Episode: -A brief overview of the war and the complicity of the United States - Trump's designation of the Houthis as a terrorist organization and the further human catastrophe that decision could cause - The hypocrisy of the US designating the Houthis a terrorist organization while having fought on the same side as al Qaeda in Yemen, Libya, and Syria - Shireen's recent article in In These Times about Biden's recent announcement about ending US involvement in this war, and why there is cause for both hope and skepticism - The double standards held by the US that allow Saudi Arabia to get away with (mass) murder - Accountability and the forms it could take - Shireen's outlook for the future of this crisis and lessons she has learned from her past 6 years of activism Donate to: Yemen Relief and Reconstruction Foundation Our Work: Read our "In the Context of Empire" blog with corresponding and expanded posts to this content! Social Media: Twitter- @JonTheContrary and @Mattylongruns
March 12, 2021
Episode 42: Dissecting the War Propagating Tendencies of US Media with Janine Jackson
Matt was joined by Janine Jackson for a discussion about the role US media plays in furthering US imperialism and warfare. Janine is a Program Director at the media watchdog Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting. She is also the producer and Host of the weekly radio show Counterspin Discussed in this Episode: - Janine's background, her interest in media criticism, and the mission of FAIR - The ways by which the US media has become a servant to powerful interests without any need for official censorship. For more on this, check out FAIR's What’s Wrong With the News? - Assumptions about the United states and other nations that are at the core of US media's coverage of war and empire - A case study: US media coverage (and failures) in the buildup to the 2003 invasion of Iraq - Outlook for media performance in the Biden era, and Janine's recent article, Trump Briefings? Always News. Biden Briefings? Not News. - The use of sanitizing language to manufacture consent for extremely violent practices such as "targeted sanctions" and "surgical strikes" - Tips for how to be a critical consumer of US media Our Work: Read our "In the Context of Empire" blog with corresponding and expanded posts to this content! Social Media: Twitter- @JonTheContrary and @Mattylongruns
March 10, 2021
Episode 41: The War Industry Vs. Humanity with Christian Sorensen
The military industrial congressional complex consists of war profiteers, both obvious and less apparent. Matt was joined by Christian Sorensen for a wide ranging conversation about some of the most nefarious aspects of the war industry. Christian is a veteran of the United States Air Force and the author of Understanding the War Industry. He is also a prolific investigator of government contracts offered within the MIC at warindustrymuster.com. Discussed in this Episode: - Christian's background in going from a member of the Air Force to a prolific enemy of the war industry - The ways in which the war industry influences policy through the use of retired military personnel and lobbying Congress - The nefarious weaponization of "imperial feminism" to promote war and militarism - The complicity of mainstream media in promoting war - Christian's article, Who Are the Ultimate War Profiteers? U.S. Air Force Veteran Removes the Veil, about the lesser known role of the financial industry in propagating US imperial violence - Christian's list of euphemisms that serve to sanitize the violent behavior of the US empire - Responding to critics... is this whole MIC thing a conspiracy theory? - Christian's and Matt's outlooks for the future Our Work: Read our "In the Context of Empire" blog with corresponding and expanded posts to this content! Matt's related article about imperial euphemisms Social Media: Twitter- @JonTheContrary and @Mattylongruns.
March 06, 2021
Episode 40: The Pathology of Government Secrecy, the Value of Wikileaks, and the Realities of Julian Assange's Case with Kevin Gosztola
The gravest threat to press freedom right now is the US government's attempt to prosecute Julian Assange. The work of Assange, and more broadly Wikileaks has been a great service to the world. Through their work, they removed some of the cloud of secrecy that allows the most powerful figures in the US empire to commit crimes with immunity. Matt was joined by Kevin Gosztola to discuss the US persecution of Julian Assange, the value of Wikileaks and their revelations, and the plight of whistleblowers more broadly. Kevin is a Journalist who writes at Shadowproof. He is also the host of Dissenter Weekly and the Co-Host of the Unauthorized Disclosure podcast with Rhania Khalek Discussed in this Episode: Kevin's professional background and his interest in leaks and whistleblowers Wikileaks' origins and purpose Wikileaks greatest hits including the Afghan War logs, the Iraq War logs, the State department cables, the Guantanamo Files, and the Vault 7 leaks The realities current Julian Assange case, common misconceptions, and why everyone should be concerned about this grave threat to press freedom Kevin's thoughts about why so few journalists are covering this case, even as it could have major implications for their own journalism Our Work: Read our "In the Context of Empire" blog with corresponding and expanded posts to this content! Matt's related article concerning the recent history of Iran and the United States Social Media: Twitter- @JonTheContrary and @Mattylongruns.
February 28, 2021
Episode 39: Challenging Settler Colonialism in Hawaii and the Philippines with Ellen-Rae Cachola
Matt was joined by Dr. Ellen- Rae Cachola to discuss US imperialism in Hawaii and the Philippines. Dr. Cachola is a lecturer of Ethnic Studies at the University of Hawaii at Mānoa, and the evening supervisor and archives manager University of Hawaii at Manoa William S. Richardson School of Law. Dr. Cachola's writing on the subject of settler colonialism in the Pacific Islands can be found here. Discussed in this Episode: - Dr. Cachola's background and her interest in the legacy of US imperialism in the Pacific Islands. - The violent origins of US imperialism in these islands - Neo-colonialism in the Philippines and the struggle from sovereignty - The subjugation of the Philippine economy and subsequent diaspora of Filipinos - The malignant effects of both the US military and the tourism industry in Hawaii and the Philippines - Dr. Cachola's work on Detours, walking tours in Hawaii that are designed to teach the value of decolonization - The structured and sociological oppression inflicted upon colonized peoples that extends even to subjugating minds of the colonized - The need for solidarity and intersectionality in the struggle against US imperialism Our Work: Read our "In the Context of Empire" blog with corresponding and expanded posts to this content! Social Media: Twitter- @JonTheContrary and @Mattylongruns.
February 22, 2021
Episode 38: The Long and Complicated Relationship Between Iran and the United States with John Ghazvinian
Jon and Matt were joined by Dr. John Ghazvinian to speak about the complicated history of the Iran and the United States. While many listeners are likely familiar with the more recent decades of this relationship, in which the US has been engaged in aggression against Iran since 1953, the relationship is actually far older, more complicated, and offers some hope for the future. Dr. Ghazvinian is the executive director of the Middle East Center at the University of Pennsylvania. He is also the author of Untapped, the Scramble for Africa’s Oil and most recently, America and Iran: A History from 1720 to the Present Discussed in this Episode: - John's background and and origins of his interest in this subject - Colonial America's fascination with Iran - Iran and Islam - Foreign influence in Iran - The US was viewed.. as an anti-imperialist power! - The consistent Western interference to thwart democracy in Iran - Mohammad Mossadegh and the tragic events of 1953 - The rise and fall of the Pahlavi dynasty - How the US helped to create the environment wherein the 1979 Islamic Revolution occurred - The barbarity of sanctions and suggestions for how to talk about alleged human rights abuses of the Iranian government - The future of Iran and the United States, Dr. Ghazvinian's concerns and hopes for the relationship Our Work: Read our "In the Context of Empire" blog with corresponding and expanded posts to this content! Matt's related article concerning the recent history of Iran and the United States Social Media: Twitter- @JonTheContrary and @Mattylongruns.
February 19, 2021
Episode 37: Parsing Through the Convoluted Logic of US Foreign Policy with Danny Sjursen
Matt was joined by Danny Sjursen to speak about the confusing pattern of the United States being supportive of some uprisings, while seeking to crush others. They also discussed the wildly inconsistent reactions the United States has to various forms of terrorism. Danny is a retired Major in the United States Army, a historian, has taught at West Point Military Academy. He is also a prolific writer at many outlets include The Nation, antiwar.com, Scheerpost, and The American Conservative and many other places. He is the author of several books including Ghost Riders of Baghdad, Soldiers, Civilians and the Myth of the Surge Patriotic Dissent and the upcoming A True History of the United States. Check Danny's website for more of his work! Discussed in this Episode: Comparing and contrasting US reactions to uprisings in variety of theaters including: - Syria and Ukraine - Western Sahara and Libya - Egypt and Venezuela - Palestine and Kashmir Definitions of "terrorism" and the subjective nature of the word US hypocrisy and inconsistency in its reactions to different forms of terrorism The complex realities of different groups that have been branded as terrorist organizations by the US Our Work: Read our "In the Context of Empire" blog with corresponding and expanded posts to this content! Matt's recent article concept of terrorism, its uses and misuses Social Media: Twitter- @Mattylongruns.
February 16, 2021
Episode 36: Imperial Hypocrisy with Ben Norton
Matt was joined by journalist Ben Norton to speak about a variety of topics that highlight the hypocrisy of the US empire. The dicussion covers a range of topics including the mainstream media's deference to the national security state, concepts terrorism and genocide, and the treatment of Julian Assange. Ben writes for the Grayzone and hosts the Moderate Rebels podcast with Max Blumenthal. Discussed in this Episode: - Ben's interest in national security reporting and why so many Western journalists have a deference to US imperial institutions - The Grayzone's origins and irrational vitriol they receive for doing good journalism - How character assassination becomes deployed by critics with no actual coherent argument - Bens article, US backs al-Qaeda in Yemen while dubbing its Houthi enemies ‘terrorists’ - The concept of genocide, and its application to various situations. Matt wrote an article about the subject. - US involvement in the Syrian Civil War,: the dirty war the US has been engaged in through arming "moderate rebels" and conducting a massive propaganda campaign. Discussed further in Ben's article, Leaked docs expose massive Syria propaganda operation waged by Western govt contractors and media - How do speak about countries currently being targeted by US imperialism - The need to be skeptical about all claims made the the US about official US enemies- the long history of the US lying Our Work: Read our "In the Context of Empire" blog with corresponding and expanded posts to this content! Matt's recent article concept of terrorism, its uses and misuses Social Media: Twitter- @Mattylongruns.
February 09, 2021
Episode 35: Questions of Violence and Sovereignty Under the US Empire with Darryl Li
Jon and Matt were joined by Dr. Darryl Li to speak about a number of topics including the concepts of jihadism, national sovereignty, so called "humanitarian intervention" and some other dark realities of the US empire Dr. Li Assistant Professor of Anthropology at the University of Chicago, an attorney, and the author of The Universal Enemy: Jihad, Empire, and the Challenge of Solidarity. Discussed in this Episode: - Darryl's background and his interest in US imperialism - "Foreign Fighters" outside of the perspective of nation states- IE Arab fighters that traveled to Bosnia to fight in the 90's vs the US soldiers who traveled to fight in Arab world more recently - The limitations of viewing the world through the lens of the nation state. - Universalism, the danger of universalistic claims- seen in both Jihad and UN Peacekeeping - Jihad and how the concept varies across the Muslim world - Skepticism regarding humanitarian interventions and peacekeeping missions -Independence vs sovereignty and US hegemony in the War on Terror - The limitations of looking at US imperialism through just the actions of the US government (invasions, sanctions, coups, etc, most of the work of the empire is delegated to US clients! - The hypocrisy of the US to label Muslims "out of place" as "foreign fighters" while occupying nations 7,000 miles from the homeland Our Work: Read our "In the Context of Empire" blog with corresponding and expanded posts to this content! Social Media: Twitter- @Mattylongruns.
January 27, 2021
Episode 34: Avoiding Nuclear War with Martin J. Sherwin
Jon and Matt were joined by Dr. Martin J Sherwin to speak about the all too important issue of nuclear weapons. Dr. Martin J. Sherwin professor of history at George Mason University, co-author of the Pulitzer Prize winning book,American Prometheus: The Triumph and Tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer., and author of A World Destroyed: Hiroshima and its Legacies, and Gambling with Armageddon: Nuclear Roulette from Hiroshima to the Cuban Missile Crisis Discussed in this episode: - Common myths about the use of the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki - Why Truman really used the bombs; the reality of the USSR entry into the war against the Japanese - The the dissent to Truman's decision from both scientists and the military - How nuclear weapons became the forefront of US foreign policy - The real legacies of Eisenhower and John F. Kennedy with regards to nuclear weapons proliferation - The Cuban Missile Crisis, the conduct of Kennedy, Krushchev, and the lessons that SHOULD have been learned - Martin's hopes for the future regarding non proliferation Our Work: Read our "In the Context of Empire" blog with corresponding and expanded posts to this content! Social Media: Twitter- @Mattylongruns.
January 22, 2021
Episode 33: This Film has Been Modified to Meet Imperial Demands with Tom Secker
Jon and Matt were joined by Tom Secker to speak about an aspect of imperialism that often flies under the radar, while being essential to the functioning of the empire. This episode focuses on the propaganda spread though movies and television shows that is crucial for the expansion of the warfare state. Films and shows may seem benign but often serve to manufacture societal consent and tolerance for imperial violence. Tom is an expert on the perverse influence that the US national security state has over popular entertainment. He is the author of National Security Cinema: The Shocking New Evidence of Government Control in Hollywood, and the host of Clandestime podcast. He has a new documentary coming out, Theatres of Command. All of Tom's work can be found at Spyculture.com Discussed in this Episode: - Tom's background and interest in propaganda - The various ways and scale that the Pentagon and CIA influence movie and television production (hint.. it's not about money!) - The unexpected genres that there is still a Pentagon presence; IE in the script of Pitch Perfect 3 - The tragically comical cases of Jurassic Park 3, Contact, and other strange cases of Pentagon messaging in films - The consequences producers face for not accepting Pentagon/CIA assistance - The measurable extreme success of nat. sec. propaganda through films/shows. - How to enjoy movies and shows without falling victim to imperial propaganda Our Work: Read our "In the Context of Empire" blog with corresponding and expanded posts to this content! Social Media: Twitter- @Mattylongruns.
January 18, 2021
Episode 32: Tearing Down the Bipartisan Imperial Consensus with Daniel Bessner
Jon and Matt were joined by Dr. Daniel Bessner to discuss the need to challenge the bipartisan consensus on US foreign policy. Dr. Bessner currently holds the Joff Hanauer Honors Professorship in Western Civilization at the University of Washington. He is a non-resident fellow at the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft. He also the author of Democracy in Exile: Hans Speier and the Rise of the Defense Intellectual More of Dr. Bessner's writing can be found in Jacobin, the New York Times, and his blog, Foreign Exchanges Discussed in this Episode: - The bipartisan imperial consensus and its destructive consequences. - Daniel's article for the New York Times, What Does Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Think About the South China Sea? - The need for progressive politicians to include anti imperialist foreign policy as part of their platform - The total lack of accountability for foreign policy failures/war criminality - Defense intellectual: How the allegedly most intelligent officials from the best schools have created disastrous foreign policy - Daniel's article Build back Better at Foreign Exchanges, predictions and hopes for the Biden administration - The need to join the International Criminal Court, dissolve NATO, and pardon whistleblowers Our Work: Read our "In the Context of Empire" blog with corresponding and expanded posts to this content! Social Media: Twitter- @Mattylongruns.
January 15, 2021
Episode 31: A Revolutionary Moment with Makasi Motema
Jon and Matt were joined by Makasi Motema to discuss the current situation in the US and the potential for revolution. Makasi is a Marxist Leninist activist and writer living in the New York City area. His work can be found at Workers World. Discussed in this Episode: - Makasi's political development - The situation in the US in 2021 that Makasi poses make the nation ripe for revolution. He wrote about this in his recent article. - How to argue against some of the major accusations made about socialist/communist countries - Why we should never believe/repeat US government claims about alleged US enemy nations - Enough with the fetishization of the Nordic countries as the "ideal" socialism Makasi's Work: Please Support Him! Makasi's latest article, Is the United States Facing a Revolutionary Situation All of Makasi's writing can be found at Workers World Our Work: Read our "In the Context of Empire" blog with corresponding and expanded posts to this content! Social Media: Twitter- @Mattylongruns.
January 11, 2021
Episode 30: Insurrection Reflections
Jon and Matt were joined by their coworker, friend, and occasional cohost, Dan to discuss the recent insurrection in the capitol. Discussed in this Episode: - Initial reactions - Garbage mainstream media media takes - God dammit, stop making "banana republics" and "third world" comparisons as if they aren't racist & obfuscating of American imperialism! - No one ever needs to hear the opinion of George W. Bush again - International perspective: This is exactly the kind of attempted right wing coup the US typically supports - Is right wing extremism really "not who we are?"... because it really seems like it is - The myopia of focusing on the individuals who stormed the capitol and even Trump himself rather then systemic critiques of capitalism and empire Our Work: Read our "In the Context of Empire" blog with corresponding and expanded posts to this content! Social Media: Twitter- @Mattylongruns.
January 08, 2021
Episode 29: Deflating Anti-Venezuela Propaganda with Leonardo Flores
Jon and Matt were honored to be joined by Leonardo Flores to discuss some of the many misconceptions that have been propagated by the US government about Venezuela and the Chavista movement. Leonardo is the Latin America campaign coordinator and and analyst on U.S.-Venezuela relations for Code Pink His writing has appeared in Common Dreams. Discussed in this Episode: - Leonardo's background and interest in US- Venezuela relations - The reality of pre-Chavez Venezuela - Hugo Chavez, his political development, and rise to power - The root of US enmity toward the Chavez and Maduro governments - The accomplishments of the Chavez government in terns of social advancements - The truth about Venezuelan elections - Maduro's background and rise in Venezuelan politics - The US's weaponization of human rights against Venezuela - The horrible effects of US sanctions on Venezuelans - American's inability to understand how constant US meddling might lead to restriction of some freedoms - The development of US policy toward Venezuela through George W, Bush, Barack Obama and Donald Trump - Leonardo's predictions for the Biden administration's treatment of Venezuela - Hopes for the future of Venezuela Leonardo's Work: Please Support him! Among other very important projects, Leonardo is currently working on The Good Neighbor Policy at Code Pink Articles by Leonardo can be found at Common Dreams Our Work: Read our "In the Context of Empire" blog with corresponding and expanded posts to this content! Social Media: Twitter- @Mattylongruns.
January 05, 2021
Episode 28: The Truth About the War in Afghanistan with Anand Gopal
Jon and Matt were honored to speak with Dr. Anand Gopal about some of the false assumptions Americans hold about the United States' war in Afghanistan. Anand is a journalist, Assistant Research Professor at the Center on the Future of War at ASU. Fellow with the International Security Program at the New America Foundation, and Author of No Good Men Among the Living: America, the Taliban and the War Through Afghan Eyes Discussed in this Episode: - Anand's background and unconventional route to becoming a journalist and author covering America's wars - Some relevant history regarding Afghanistan - The truth about the Taliban and Al Qaeda relationship - The Taliban vs. the Northern Alliance: Who exactly was the US aligned with and who was it fighting? - Why the war was totally avoidable to begin with, and even after it started could have been over by December 2001 - Anand's lack of surprise about the revelations of the Afghanistan Papers - Countering the excuses for why the US continues to occupy Afghanistan. (terrorism, treatment of women) - Anand's hopes for Afghanistan's future Dr. Gopal's Work: Please Support Him! Anand's Book:No Good Men Among the Living: America, the Taliban, and the War through Afghan Eyes Recent Article in the New Yorker: America's War on Syrian Civilians Our Work: Read our "In the Context of Empire" blog with corresponding and expanded posts to this content! Social Media: Twitter- @Mattylongruns.
January 01, 2021
Episode 27: Avoiding Peace at All Costs with Scott Horton
Jon and Matt were joined by Scott Horton to speak about the many ways by which the American war machine is not only counterproductive, but the cause of (and In the minds of policy makers the solution to) so many of our foreign "challenges" Scott is the Host of the Scott Horton Show, editorial director of Antiwar.com, the director of the Libertarian Institute, and the author of Fools Errand- Time to End the War in Afghanistan Discussed in this Episode: - Scotts background and how he became such a prolific voice in the antiwar movement - Summaries disasters that the United States has created in Afghanistan and Syria, and why it has all been unnecessary - The shift of US policy in the Middle East that began in 2007 that explains much of the current disasters in Syria, Iraq and Yemen (see the Seymour Hersh's article, The Redirection to read more on this shift) - The concepts of blowback and backdraft and how US wars make Americans less safe - Scott's biggest concerns about the Biden administration Scott's Work: Please support him! The Libertarian Institute Antiwar.com Scott's website and show Read Scotts book, Fools Errand- Time to End the War in Afghanistan for a comprehensive breakdown of the futility of the War in Afghanistan. Read Scott's upcoming book, Enough Already for a comprehensive breakdown of all of Americas disastrous wars since the Carter administration Our Work Read our "In the Context of Empire" blog with corresponding and expanded posts to this content! Social Media: Twitter- @Mattylongruns.
December 28, 2020
Episode 26: Reckoning with The Destruction of Forever War with David Vine
Jon and Matt were joined by Dr. David Vine to discuss the perpetual warfare state that the U.S has been since even before its independence. For its 244 years history, there have only been 11 years for which the United States was not engaged in military combat. These wars have almost all been offensive in nature, have killed tens of millions of people, and destroyed the lives of exponentially more. The history of the United States is a history of aggressive war. We need to have a reckoning with this blood soaked past. Dr. Vine is a professor of political anthropology at American University, a board member on the Costs of War Project, a co founder of the Overseas Base Realignment and Closure Coalition, and the author of Base Nation, The United States of War, Island of Shame: The Secret History of the U.S. Military Base on Diego Garcia. Specifically Discussed: - David's background and his development of an interest in exposing the imperial history of the United States - The ways in which the US is an empire and the various phases of that imperialism - The aggressive nature of nearly all US wars - Debunking the myth that the massive size of the Department of War and its 800 foreign bases does anything in terms of defense of the United States - The inseparable nature of racism and war - The need for truth and reconciliation and accountability for the mass death and destruction caused the our imperial wars of aggression David's Work: Please Support Him! David's Website David's books: Island of Shame: The Secret History of the U.S. Military Base on Diego Garcia., Base Nation, and The United States of War, Our Work Read our "In the Context of Empire" blog with corresponding and expanded posts to this content! Social Media: Twitter- @Mattylongruns.
December 24, 2020
Episode 25: Breaking Down the Methods of the World's Leader in Foreign Interference with Stephen Kinzer
Jon and Matt were joined by Stephen Kinzer to speak about the United States' near constant interference in other countries. Stephen is a former New York times Foreign correspondent, a current columnist for the Boston Globe and a Senior Fellow in International and Public Affairs at the Watson Institute . He is also the author of many books including: Overthrow, Bitter Fruit, The Brothers: John Foster Dulles, Allen Dulles, and Their Secret World War, The True Flag: Theodore Roosevelt, Mark Twain, and the Birth of American Empire and most recently Poisoner in Chief: Sidney Gottlieb and the CIA Search for Mind Control. Specifically Discussed: - Stephen's background as a foreign correspondent for the New York Times and how it catalyzed him to start writing about the history of US imperialism - The United States is the world's leader in foreign interference (and no one is even close) - What Americans do not seem to understand about Russia - The methods by which the United States interferes in foreign governments - The role of disinformation in both the targeted nations and the American public - How alleged human rights abuses of targeted nations are weaponized by the US to push imperial actions and do exponentially more harm than the original allegations The American exceptionalism mindset: "We are the first nation in the world that has managed to marry virtue and power” - Could American foreign policy ever create positive outcomes? - Stephen's prognostications for interference that the United States is currently undertaking - Stephen's prognostications for a Biden administration Stephen's Work: Please support him! Check out his books including: Overthrow, Bitter Fruit, The Brothers: John Foster Dulles, Allen Dulles, and Their Secret World War, The True Flag: Theodore Roosevelt, Mark Twain, and the Birth of American Empire and most recently Poisoner in Chief: Sidney Gottlieb and the CIA Search for Mind Control. All of Stephens latest work can be found at his website Our Work: Read our "In the Context of Empire" blog with corresponding and expanded posts to this content! Social Media: Twitter- @Mattylongruns.
December 21, 2020
Episode 24: The Mythical "Radical Left" Educators Have Arrived
This episode can be classified as an act of defiance to Jon's own recent article, in which he dismantled the myth of the "radical left educator." For this conversation, Jon and Matt spoke with two of these allegedly mythical beings, Dan (a social studies teacher) and Zach (an English teacher). They discussed a variety of topics centered around their own leftwing politics and its implications for their profession.. Specifically Discussed: - Where do they stand now? How do Zach, Dan, Jon and Matt categorize themselves politically? What specific issues animate them? - The problems with capitalism: What myths seems to persist about the alleged benefits of capitalism over other systems? - The ways in which left wing political ideologies influence their teaching - The limits of traditional education and Imagining a different future and alternative methods for teaching Our Work: Read our "In the Context of Empire" blog with corresponding and expanded posts to this content! Social Media: Twitter- @Mattylongruns.
December 16, 2020
Episode 23: Calculating the Immense Destruction of the War on Terror with Neta C. Crawford
Jon, Dan and Matt were honored to speak with Dr. Neta C. Crawford about the utter destruction that has been caused by the United States' 2 decade "War on Terror." Dr. Crawford is the co-director of the Costs of War Project at Brown University, Professor and Chair of Political Science at Boston University, and the author of several books including Accountability for Killing: Moral Responsibility for Collateral Damage in America's Post-9/11 Wars. Specifically discussed: Dr. Crawford's background with regards to her interest in revealing the toll of American militarism Human costs: direct and indirect deaths, injuries (physical and psychological) Living Under Drones- study of psychological damage of drone war on civilians Financial Costs- trillions spent, huge deficits, opportunity costs to US citizens- infrastructure, education, healthcare etc. The environmental costs: The US military's shocking fossil fuel consumption, greenhouse gas emissions of other ways in which the Pentagon causes extreme degradation of the environment Dr. Crawford's Work. Please Support Her! The Costs of War Project Costs and Consequences of US Post-9/11 Wars: Focus on Climate Change- Video Pentagon Fuel Use, Climate Change, and the Costs of War- Paper Dr Crawford's book: Accountability for Killing: Moral Responsibility for Collateral Damage in America's Post-9/11 Wars Our Work: Read our "In the Context of Empire" blog with corresponding and expanded posts to this content! Social Media: Twitter- @Mattylongruns.
December 14, 2020
Episode 22: No Seriously, They Actually Are War Criminals with Rebecca Gordon
While Matt is often quick to label US officials, "war criminals," he does so without having done the requisite legal scholarship. In this episode however, Jon and Matt were lucky enough to speak with Dr. Rebecca Gordon about her research of the many war crimes and violations of international law that the United States has committed since 2001. Specifically discussed: Dr. Gordon's background and her her development of an interest in demanding justice for victims of injustice at the hand of the US empire The Nuremberg Trials- What they were, why they were historically significant , where they came up short the United States vs The International Court of Justice and the International Criminal Court Crimes of the War on Terror- Torture, offensive war Some of the American officials who should be prosecuted The Russell Tribunals and hopes for similar procedures for the War on Terror Dr. Gordon's Work. Please Support Her! American Nuremberg: The U.S. Officials Who Should Stand Trial for Post-9/11 War Crimes Mainstreaming Torture: Ethical Approaches in the Post-9/11 United States Our Work: Read our "In the Context of Empire" blog with corresponding and expanded posts to this content! Social Media: Twitter- @Mattylongruns.
December 09, 2020
Episode 21: Waging Peace with David Swanson
Jon and Matt were honored to speak with David Swanson, prolific anti-war activist, journalist, executive director of World Beyond War, and campaign coordinator for rootsaction.org. He is also the author of many books including War is a Lie and Leaving World War II Behind. David has been nominated for the Nobel Peace prize and is a tireless advocate for ending US militarism Specifically discussed: - Matt's newest article and how it is that America historically and currently has created all of its foreign policy problems - David's background and motivations for antiwar activism - Some common lies that are told regarding war both broadly and about specific conflicts -The mythologies and wrong lessons that Americans believe about their country's role in WWII - How the US fueled the rise of Hitler and Nazism - Why we should be saying "Thank you for your service" to the troops - Changing the culture and language around war, IE "Defense Contractor" to "Merchant of Death" - David's concerns about the likely Biden foreign policy team - Neera Tanden's infamous email wherein she suggests that Libya should pay for the privilege of being destroyed by the United States David's Work. Please Support Him! World Beyond War RootsAction.org David's Website David's Books: War is a lie, Leaving World War II Behind and many more. Our Work: Matt's newest article: America is to Blame for America's Foreign Policy Problems Read our "In the Context of Empire" blog with corresponding and expanded posts to this content! Social Media: Twitter- @Mattylongruns.
December 06, 2020
Episode 20: Civility is Overrated! Confronting Warmongers with Medea Benjamin
Jon and Matt were honored to be joined by Medea Benjamin, long time peace activist and author. Medea is the co founder of the women led peace organization, Code Pink. She has has authored books including, Drone Warfare: Killing by Remote Control, Inside Iran: The Real History and Politics of the Islamic Republic of Iran, and Kingdom of the Unjust: Behind the U.S.-Saudi Connection. Medea's writing also appears regularly in the outlets, The Guardian, The Huffington Post, CommonDreams, Alternet, and The Hill. Specifically discussed: - Medeas background and motivations for antiwar activism - Why civility and decency are overrated! Code Pink has a propensity for up close (verbal) confrontations with war criminals like Henry Kissinger, John McCain and Elliot Abrams. The groups often confronts them at their offices, congressional hearings and even their houses! - Why to defending Palestinian rights IS NOT antisemitic - Why sanctions are a form of war that are as, if not more deadly than conventional warfare - Concerns about Joe Biden and his cabinet - Why we should NOT view the female picks for running the war machine as a feminist victory - Why we need to be skeptical of the way that claims of human rights abuses are weaponized by the war machine - Advice for for getting involved in antiwar activism Some of Media Benjamin and Code Pink's Work: Please Support Her Activism! Medea and Code Pink attempt an arrest of Henry Kissinger.. John McCain was not amused Medea confronts Barack Obama over drones and Guantanamo Support Code Pink and their work here Code Pink's Campaign to prevent Michelle Flournoy's nomination Check Out Her Books:Drone Warfare: Killing by Remote Control, Inside Iran and Kingdom of the Unjust: Behind the U.S.-Saudi Connection Our Work: Read our "In the Context of Empire" blog with corresponding and expanded posts to this content! Social Media: Twitter- @Mattylongruns. *Editor's note. About a third of the way into the episode, Jon lost internet temporarily and we had to switch recording devices. There is a slight difference in sound for the last 2/3rd's
December 03, 2020
Episode 19: The Foundational Racism of the American Empire with Gerald Horne
Jon and Matt were fortunate to be joined by Dr. Gerald Horne to discuss the foundational racism deeply embedded in the American experiment. Dr. Horne holds the Moores Professorship of History and African American Studies at the University of Houston. He is the author of many books including: The Apocalypse of Settler Colonialism: The Roots of Slavery, White Supremacy and Capitalism in Seventeenth Century North America and the Caribbean, The Counter-Revolution of 1776: Slave Resistance and the Origins of the United States of America, The White Pacific: U.S. Imperialism and Black Slavery in the South Seas After the Civil War Specifically discussed: -Dr. Horne's background and how he developed a propensity for challenging the mythologies of the American experiment. - The reason we should view the American war for independence as a counter revolution rather than a revolution - The inconvenient fact about marginalized groups often fighting on the side of US adversaries in American wars - The connection between the paranoia produced in the planter class by the Haitian revolution and the fear produced in US elites by anti colonial movements in of the 20th century - Complicating the legacies the the Anti Slavery movement (including Lincoln himself) - Refuting the merits of constitutional "originalism" - Challenging the notion that Donald J Trump as a unique figure in US history - The history of black celebrities being the target of right wing animosity from Paul Robeson to Colin Kaepernick - Hope for modern movements for racial justice and the threat of co-option by corporations and other historically oppressive institutions. Dr. Horne's' Work: Please Support Him! Dr. Horne's extensive (he has written over 30 books catalogue of writing can be found here New book coming out 12/20/2020- The Bittersweet Science: Racism Racketeering and the Political Economy of Boxing Our Work: Read our "In the Context of Empire" blog with corresponding and expanded posts to this content! Social Media: Twitter- @Mattylongruns.
November 25, 2020
Episode 18: Uncle Sam's Destructive Hand in the Middle East with Dr. Stephen Zunes
Jon and Matt were privileged to have Dr. Stephen Zunes share his wealth of knowledge about the Middle East and the Unites States' destructive history in the region. Stephen is expert on the Middle East and US foreign policy and current a professor of politics and International Studies at the University of San Francisco. Specifically discussed: - The disastrous US war in Iraq ( The Persian Gulf War) - As if anyone still needs to learn....the 2003 invasion of Iraq was based on lies... and many people (including Dr. Zunes) knew this AT THE TIME - Joe Biden's deep complicity in and lack of contrition for the 2003 Invasion of Iraq - Americans have a fundamental misunderstanding about terrorism - An evaluation of the Obama administration's record in the Middle East - Trump's record in the Middle East and the charlatan nature of his "antiwar" posturing - Dr. Zunes' critique of Joe Biden's foreign policy and why the president elect's claims about his Iraq vote should be be believed - A lesser known example of the US thwarting independence movement in West Sahara Dr. Zunes' Work: Please Support Him! Article mentioned in podcast: The Gulf War: 8 myths Author of the Books: Tinderbox, and Western Sahara:War Nationalism& Conflict Irresolution Much of Dr. Zunes work can be found at his website Our Work: Jon's recent article: Tackling the Military-Industrial-Congressional Complex Read our "In the Context of Empire" blog with corresponding and expanded posts to this content! Social Media: Twitter- @Mattylongruns.
November 23, 2020
Episode 17: Blood Money and Other Corrupting Forces in the MIC with Ben Freeman
"You start to follow the money, and you don't know where the fuck it's gonna take you." - Lester Freaman from The Wire Jon and Matt were honored to be joined by Dr. Ben Freeman (no relation to Lester) for a further discussion of the corruption within the military-industrial-congressional complex. Ben is the director of the Foreign Influence Transparency Initiative at the Center for International Policy He is especially adept at exposing the role of private contractor and foreign money in influencing the creation of destructive US foreign policies. He is the author of The Foreign Policy Auction. Specifically discussed: - Jon's recent article breaking down the waste and opportunity cost of Pentagon spending and the military-industrial- congressional complex - Ben's background: How did he develop such an interest and talent for tracking the money within the military industrial complex? - The countries that have significant influence on US politics.. hint, it's not Russia! - The influence wielded by he for profit weapons industry and foreign actors through the funding of think tanks - The other nefarious ways through which US foreign policy is influenced by the arms industry and foreign actors - Ben's rejection of Biden's solution to curb foreign influence and a proposal for a better solution - Some concerns regarding the incoming Biden foreign policy team Ben's Work: Please Support Him! Report: U.S. Government and Defense Contractor Funding of America’s Top 50 Think Tanks Report : Foreign Funding of Think Tanks in America Report: Japan's Influence in America Ben's article about nuclear weapons profiteers: Nuclear Weapons Profiteers are Driving the Nukes Debate Ben's book: The Foreign Policy Auction Our Work: Jon's recent article : Tackling the Military-Industrial-Congressional Complex Read our "In the Context of Empire" blog with corresponding and expanded posts to this content! Social Media: Twitter- @Mattylongruns.
November 20, 2020
Episode 16: The Pathology of American Exceptionalism with (Ret.) U.S Army Major Danny Sjursen
Jon and Matt were privileged to be joined by retired US Army Major turned prolific antiwar writer, Danny Sjursen. This conversation focused on Major Sjursen's critiques of the pathologies of US empire & American exceptionalism. These are perspectives that are informed by Sjursen's own experiences within the US war machine along with his extensive historical research. Specifically discussed: - Matt's recent article about reframing Veterans Day - Danny's background: How he transitioned from a budding neocon to one of the most prolific antiwar writers and activists - Reframing patriotism: Danny breaks down the different types of American patriotism and encourages a shift to a definition oriented around holding one's nation to a high standard of behavior while rejecting blind loyalty and jingoism - Danny's outlook on the obstacles facing antiwar activism: Civilian detachment from US wars, the invisibility of of US militarism, the need for cross political engagement - Commentary on which recent president was most detrimental to antiwar activism: Obama for masterfully (but quietly) expansion of US imperialism OR Trump, whose presidency has seen liberals cozy up to neocons and the intelligence agencies? - Speculation for a Biden presidency with regards to militarism - The reason why "woke" imperialism needs to be destroyed as an idea. - A Staten Island (Shaolin) native's picks for best Wu tang artist and album Danny Sjursen's Work: Please Support Him! All of Danny's writing can be found at his website, skepticalvet.com Check out Danny's books: Ghost Riders of Baghdad: Soldiers, Civilians, and the Myth of the Surge and Patriotic Dissent Listen to his podcast, Fortress on a Hill Specifically mentioned in this episode : Danny's breakdown on the FOAH episode of the foreign policy of Joe Biden and his recent article for antiwar.com analyzing (and eviscerating) the likely Biden foreign policy officials Our Work: Matt's recent article : A Tribute to the Veterans* of America’s Wars Read our "In the Context of Empire" blog with corresponding and expanded posts to this content! Social Media: Twitter- @Mattylongruns.
November 18, 2020
Episode 15: Taking on the Mythologies of the Permanent War State with Gareth Porter
Jon and Matt were honored to be joined by Dr. Gareth Porter, historian and investigative journalist, to debunk some of the prevailing myths that serve to perpetuate the permanent war state. Specifically discussed: - Gareth's background: How he become so adept at debunking the myths propagated by the national security state - The truth about the "moderate rebels" that the Us armed and funded in Syria- The truth about the constantly repeated allegation of Russian bounties on American soldiers in Afghanistan, and the journalistic malpractice that was displayed by mainstream outlets in reporting this story. - Gareth 's hypothesis as to why good national security journalism is rare Gareth Porter's Work: Please Support Him! Some of his early work dispelling the Nixon admin's lie about the alleged bloodbath if the North Vietnamese took Saigon Articles in the Nation and Harpers dispelling the myth regarding Iran's nuclear weapons ambitions Interview with Al Jazeera dispelling nuclear weapons allegations Dispelling the myth about Iran having killed 600 US soldiers in Iraq (not mentioned in episode but relevant to the conversation) How America Armed Terrorists in Syria - NIE report 2007 on Iran WMD- NYT A breakdown of the journalistic malpractice in the mainstream reporting about the alleged "Russian bounties" Read his books, Perils of Dominance: Imbalance of Power and the Road to War in Vietnam and Manufactured Crisis All of Gareth Porter's current work can be found at the Grayzone. Other Content Mentioned in this Episode: Iran has NEVER had a nuclear weapons program DIA reported connections likely Salafi influence in opposition in 2012 - Rat Line from Libya to Syria - Hilary Clinton “AQ is on our side” - John Kerry acknowledged they knew about rise of ISIS - Joe Biden acknowledged problem of allies arming extremists, BBC affirms Our Work: Read our "In the Context of Empire" blog with corresponding and expanded posts to this content! Social Media: Twitter- @Mattylongruns.
November 13, 2020
Episode 14: Bipartisan War Crimes- A Discussion of American Complicity in Genocide in Yemen with Shireen Al- Adeimi
Jon and Matt are joined by Dr. Shireen Al-Adeimi to discuss the genocidal war in Yemen, and the United States’ deep complicity in the world’s worst humanitarian crisis. Dr. Al-Adeimi is a Yemeni American who currently works as an assistant professor of education at Michigan State University. She also devotes much of her time to activism directed toward ending the conflict in Yemen. Her writing can be found at In These Times, and she has made appearances on Democracy Now. Specifically discussed: Origins of the conflict- How the United States became so involved in the affairs Yemen and the specific actions is the US guilty of in this war Cost of the war: best estimates of death tolls from both US supported bombing and blockade Why both Barack Obama and Trump should be prosecuted for war crimes Suggestions for teaching about this disaster to young students Suggestions for antiwar activism Connections between domestic racism and US militarism abroad Shireen’s Work: Please Support Her! A breakdown of the history of the conflict Elizabeth Warren’s disappointing response to the conflict Shireen’s article critiquing Samantha Power Joint article with Sarah Lazare about the connections between militarism abroad and racist policing at home Shireen’s Twitter handle. Follow her! Donate to: Yemen Relief and Reconstruction Foundation Other Sources Mentioned in this Episode: From Wikileaks:The US and Saleh conspired to have Yemeni government claim credit/blame for American bombings in Yemen. NYT- "Long Bloody and Indecisive”- The Obama admin knew this conflict would be a disaster yet still committed to it Obama admin knew they could be implicated in war crimes yet continued war for nearly 2 years UN estimated that death toll with reach 233,000 by 2020, ACLED acknowledges 112000 deaths UN had estimated that 10,000 Yemenis had been killed by April 2016. Obama continued the war anyway The companies that profit from genocide From the BBC: United States has been on the same side as Al Qaeda in this conflict and this has been known since 2016 Our Work: Read our "In the Context of Empire" blog with corresponding and expanded posts to this content! Social Media: Twitter- @Mattylongruns.
November 06, 2020
Episode 13: Some 740 Billion Dollar Questions with Stephen Semler
Jon and Matt are joined by Stephen Semler to discuss the "Defense" budget. Stephen is the co-founder of the Security Policy Reform Institute. He also publishes the newsletter, Speaking Security where he scrutinizes the military industrial complex, and promotes ideas for a progressive US foreign policy. Specifically discussed: - The Pentagon budget: How much goes to private contractors? How much goes to "the troops?" Why is this a problem? - How sanitizing language like "defense," "overseas contingency operations," and :"contractor" allows for an extremely destructive foreign policy - The biggest welfare queens of the arms industry - Why progressive politicians such as "The Squad" have a special responsibility on these issues - How American Exceptionalism, the belief in US' "good intentions," and the assumption that the US should be the arbiter of morality to the world enable the permanent war state - Why it is a fallacy to believe that pouring exorbitant sums of money into "defense is either supporting the troops or keeping Americans safe - Would reinstitution of the draft serve to radically change US foreign policy? Are there other ways to bridge civilian-military divide? - Why labeling progressive skeptics of American militarism as "isolationists" is incredibly inaccurate - Stephen's policy prescriptions for dismantling the military industrial congressional think tank complex Stephen's Information: Please Support His Work! Security Policy Reform Institute (SPRI) - Grassroots funded (No defense industry $!) think tank that Stephen cofounded to promote progressive Foreign Policy. Support them on Patreon! Follow SPRI on Twitter! Stephen's newsletter "Speaking Security" Subscribe for regular, concise, and incredibly informative articles Stephen's Twitter handle. Follow him! Mentioned in this Episode: The military is the most trusted Institution in American society The "Bear Patrol" on the Simpsons is the perfect analogue for the Pentagon budget The United States has been at war for all but 11 years of its history The real cost of this extremely high military for the American people Neera Tanden (President of Center for American Progress think tank) suggests that Libya should pay back the United States with its oil revenue Our Work: Read our "In the Context of Empire" blog with corresponding and expanded posts related to this content! Social Media: Twitter- @Mattylongruns.
November 05, 2020
Episode 12: A Dispatch Before the Impending Chaos
On the Thursday preceding the 2020 presidential election, Jon and Matt sit down for a discussion of the impending chaos. Seeing as there is already enough existing evidence of what a Trump presidency looks like, the focus of this episode is mostly centered on the potential of a Biden presidency. Specifically discussed: -Biden’s terrible record on domestic and foreign policy - Jon’s theory that Biden’s current policy is in essence all an effort to fix his past mistakes - Matt’s not buying Joe Biden’s BS about his Iraq decision - Matt’s concern about Biden's likely cabinet picks - Jon’s hope and skepticism about Biden’s domestic platform - How progressives should react to a Biden presidency Mentioned in the this Episode: CEPR Report on Bolivia 2019 Election- Reveals OAS and US allegations of misconduct to be false Worth the Price- Short documentary about Biden’s leading role in ensuring the 2003 invasion of Iraq Biden gives George Bush the Liberty Medal- You know, the likely reaction you’d have if you believed someone lied you into a war that resulted in your own son’s death Nothing Will Fundamentally Change!- Joe assures America’s parasitic class that it’s all good America is an Oligarchy- BBC article summarizing 2014 Princeton study Obama admits that he governed as a moderate Republican- All leftists respond, “Yea… we know.” Obama brags about his service to the industry killing the planet Yea but he was so cool about it! Biden’s potential GOP cabinet- Shocker.. Obama’s Shit Show in Libya- He admitted it! Michelle Flournoy- A hawk’s hawk Nicholas Burns- Failing upward through the foreign policy establishment Our Work: Read our "In the Context of Empire" blog with corresponding and expanded posts related to this content! Social Media: Twitter- @Mattylongruns.
October 30, 2020
Episode 11: Debate Reactions...These People are so Damn Predictable.
In a unique episode of In the Context of Empire, Jon and Matt tune into the second presidential debate of 2020. between Joe Biden and Donald Trump. The episode was recorded in the minutes both immediately before and after the shit show that was this exchange between these decrepit, rotting, old men. Episode 11 starts with predictions as to what would be discussed, what would be avoided, and how each candidate will conduct themselves. After the debate Jon and Matt evaluate their own predictions... spoiler.. they were mostly correct! Specifically discussed: - The complete lack of productive conversation on foreign policy - How jingoism is pervasive in nearly every debate topic - Jon's take on Biden's somewhat progressive policies for the environment - Why Trump is unfortunately correct in his characterization of his relationship with Russia - How it is that we know that neither candidate believes healthcare is a right - The RIGHT reasons to criticize Trump and Russia (hint...it's not because he's "Putin's Puppet") - The insufficiency of Biden and the Democratic party as opposition to fascism - The utter disappointment that the two biggest dangers to human kind (nuclear weapons and climate change) were not subject to debate whatsoever Our Work: Read our "In the Context of Empire" blog with corresponding and expanded posts related to this content! Social Media: Twitter- @Mattylongruns.
October 23, 2020
Episode 10: A Disheartening Reality from New Jersey to Afghanistan
This episode begins with Jon and Matt lamenting the fact that their district is returning to in person learning and proceeds to an equally disheartening discussion about Matt's latest post about the never ending war in Afghanistan. Beers are consumed, indictments of American policy are made, and very few solutions are offered! Specifically discussed: -The fact that John and Matt are returning to in person teaching on Monday - The disappointing status of worker solidarity in the USA - The absurdity that is the 2 decade old war in Afghanistan - The BS notion that Trump is antiwar.. He escalated the war in his early years significantly. He has had 4 years to end the war, yet hasn't had the will/political courage to do so (just as Obama didn't) - The mythologies that originally justified and continue the war: 1) The Taliban and Al Qaeda are one in the same 2) The Taliban refused to give up Bin Laden 3) The Taliban never surrendered - Why almost any excuse to stay in Afghanistan does not hold up to scrutiny from the feigned concern about protecting women to the safe haven myth Mentioned on the podcast: Father son "feel good" story in Stars and Stripes Trump is NOT antiwar Glenn Greenwald on journalists' misuse of "confirmed" reports Gareth Porter's breakdown of the actual intelligence of the Russian bounties Washington post story showing that the US did have ongoing negotiations with the Taliban and could have worked out a deal if there was sufficient will for diplomacy The Taliban tried to warn US about 9/11 Veteran Danny Sjursen's dissection of the concern for women that allegedly is a reason to stay in Afghanistan Our Work: Matt's Corresponding Post: Mythologies of The American War in Afghanistan Read our "In the Context of Empire" blog with corresponding and expanded posts related to this content! Social Media: Twitter- @Mattylongruns.
October 16, 2020
Episode 9: Democrats 2020- Punching Left and Forgiving War Criminals!
This episode centers mostly on the Democratic party. Jon and Matt detail its total inadequacy as an opposition party, its pattern of punching left, and its very warped concept of forgiveness. Specifically discussed: -The presidential and VP debate - Biden and Harris attacking immensely popular ideas such as the green new deal and medicare for all while defending fracking - The terrible selection and framing of questions that were asked vs the incredibly important questions that were left out entirely - Why Trump's unpaid taxes are not at all surprising given the system that Democrats were instrumental in creating - Matt's Article about the Democrats seemingly inconsistent and hypocritical practice of forgiveness - The fact that Julian Assange and Ralph Nader will never be forgiven by liberals, meanwhile they are more than willing to forgive war criminals from the Bush administration. Mentioned on the podcast: Trump destroys Jeb Bush over Iraq war in 2016 Republican primary debates Democrats' complicity in wealth disparity Mehdi Hassan's detail of John Bolton's belligerence 2014 Princeton Study shows that United is an oligarchy NY mag article discusses how the issues that are even up for debate are shaped by the wealthy Left Wing Positions are very popular Lawrence O'Donnell explains why the Democratic party will not respond to the left so long as the party can count on their votes Jon Schwarz's break down of Colin Powell's lying and manipulation of the UN David Frum shaming Iraqis for not appreciating the amazing offer that the US war had granted them Our Work: Matt's Corresponding Post: The Selective Forgiveness of the American Liberal Read our "In the Context of Empire" blog with corresponding and expanded posts related to this content! Social Media: Twitter- @Mattylongruns.
October 09, 2020
Episode 8: The Imaginary "Radical Left" American Educator
This episode continues the discussion of not just the problematic nature but incredible stupidity of Trump's proposal for "Patriotic Education." The hosts discuss Jon's newest article at In the Context of Empire, wherein he narrows in on Trump's claim that the "Radical Left" is indoctrinating American students. Discussed in this Episode: - Why Trump's belief in a "radical left" education system that indoctrinates children is incorrect from every measurable criterion - How the conception of "radical" is extremely subjective and often changes - How Trump plays into a long ugly history of American anti leftism Our Work: Check out Jon's corresponding article: Schooling Trump on “Radical Left” Educators Read our "In the Context of Empire" blog with corresponding and expanded posts related to this content! Social Media: Twitter- @Mattylongruns.
October 02, 2020
Episode 7: Declaring War on "Patriotic Education"
Jon and Matt are joined by Dan, our co-worker, good friend, and fellow educator, to discuss the responsibilities of being a history teacher in the United States. We discuss: - Trump's absurdly silly "patriotic education" manifesto - How many social studies teachers have been derelict at their duties - Why there is absolutely no need to give "both sides" or play devil's advocate to all issues - How Trump's pathological idea of American exceptionalism is already pervasive in nearly all institutions in society - The consequences of history teachers reaffirming a curriculum based in American exceptionalism Mentioned on the podcast: Gerald Horne's Counter Revolution of 1776 Noam Chomsky on the "Salt water fallacy," the false idea that American imperialism did not begin until 1898. Corresponding Post: A Teacher's Declaration of War on Patriotic Education Read our "In the Context of Empire" blog with corresponding and expanded posts to this content! Social Media: Twitter- @Mattylongruns.
September 24, 2020
Episode 6: So Like... What's Your Solution Man?
In episode 6 we (Jon and Matt) address a hypothetical counter argument. Frequently, those drawing attention to the problems of American society are met with a response that demands that they also have a solution to these societal ills. We start by dismissing idea that it is incumbent upon person pointing out problems to also have a solution to those problems. However, we do propose some policies that would likely shift our domestic and foreign policies in a far more beneficial direction. Some issues that we propose solutions for: The United States and its total disregard for international law and the ICC Mass Incarceration Extreme wealth inequality Unequal access to healthcare A culture that is disturbingly jingoistic and reverent of militarism while also willingly ignorant or accepting of extreme economic inequality Mentioned in the podcast: Listen Liberal and What's the Matter with Kansas by Thomas Frank We have a corresponding blog at inthecontextofempire.com Social Media: Twitter- @Mattylongruns
September 18, 2020
Episode 5: The Tragic Lost Opportunities of September 9/11
On the eve of the 19th anniversary of September 11th, we do what we do best, provide context. We discuss: Our own experiences on September 11th Bin Laden's actual grievances against the United States (spoiler.. he did not hate our freedom) The opportunity for reflection and redirection of its foreign policy that America wasted The War in Afghanistan: Why it did not need to happen in the first place, why the Taliban and Al Qaeda are totally different groups, and why the war is tragically purposeless The utter pointlessness of the chaos, death and destruction that the United States has engaged in since 9/11 and how it has harmed United States and the world . Mentioned in this podcast: Ghost Riders of Baghdad by Danny Sjursen No Good Men Among the Living by Anand Gopal Social Media: Twitter- @Mattylongruns Enjoy!
September 11, 2020
Episode 4: "We May Have Committed Some Light... Treason"- George Bluth
Continuing on the theme of words and power dynamics from episode 2, we (Jon and Matt) narrow in on the word "treason." We discuss how it is used officially and colloquially, and point to the limits and contradictions within both characterizations of the word. Furthermore, we urge caution when associating the Confederacy with treason, as the label groups the irredeemable white supremacists with some truly admirable people in American history. We assert historically, those labeled treasonous to the United States have actually been heroic, while those who committed those gravest betrayals of the American people often escaped judgement. A new definition that prioritizes loyalty to the American people and humanity at large over loyalty to the United States is needed. Resources mentioned in the podcast: Matt's article about Treason Mehdi Hassan's Discussion of the "moderate rebels" of Syria: Alluded to regarding the American counterrevolution: John Schwarz on Colin Powell's treason: Social Media: Twitter- @Mattylongruns
September 04, 2020
Episode 2: "How Many Words Does You Know" - Ali G
"How many words does you know"- Ali G to Noam Chomsky In episode two of "In the Context of Empire " We discuss words! We talk about how words & terms like "freedom," "terrorism," "looting", and "government handouts" are often used in ways that reinforce domestic and international power dynamics. They are weaponized by the powerful to punch down, while exonerating those guilty of much greater transgressions. Enjoy!
September 02, 2020
Episode 3- Right Wing Snowflakes
We (Jon and Matt) discuss: - Jon's misadventures with the local police - Right wing snowflakes - A former student's confrontation with a local mayor - The obvious charlatanism of Trump -The inadequateness of the Democratic Party's opposition - The reason that US history teachers have a responsibility to destroy American exceptionalism FYI this was recorded outside so there is some cricket noise. If you can get past that, we think you'll enjoy it! Give it a listen!
September 02, 2020
Episode 1 - The Road from Beer to Mass Murder
In the premier episode of "In the Context of Empire," we (Jon and Matt) discuss beer, American exceptionalism, international double standards, the American relationship with freedom and genocide, and many other cheerful topics! The articles referenced in this podcast can be found at inthecontextofempire.com The Deceptive Nature of the Red White and Blue: https://inthecontextofempire.com/the-deceptive-nature-of-the-red-white-and-blue/ Extermination Nation: https://inthecontextofempire.com/the-united-states-of-genocide/
September 02, 2020